See the "land of the first rising sun" with this small group excursion (16 to 24 persons), visiting all three of the Canadian Maritime Provinces.

This excursion begins and ends in historic Halifax, then visits the famed Cabot Trail, Green Gables, and the flower pots of Hopewell Cape. During the tour, you'll be walking on the ocean floor, learning about ancient battles in the land of Evangeline, seeing how your Christmas tree grows, sitting on a 65-ton lobster, observing hundreds of whales, and enjoying a traditional Maritime lobster dinner.

Day One

You'll arrive at Halifax's award winning Stanfield International Airport and, following your arrival, you'll be transported to your downtown hotel. There will be a brief orientation tour of the area surrounding your hotel - nearby restaurants, shops, and attractions.

Day Two

Halifax Waterfront

The day starts with a breakfast meeting with your tour director and your driver - followed by a two-hour tour of historic Halifax, ending at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site in time for the pomp and circumstance surrounding the firing of the noon gun. We'll provide you with a map of other interesting sites in Halifax's walkable downtown – the Public Gardens, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, the Halifax-Dartmouth ferry, our 4-kilometre long Harbour Walk, Pier 21, and the Grand Parade with historic Saint Paul's Church at its south end. These are but a few suggestions for passing your leisurely afternoon. Dinner tonight will be on your own but we'll provide a number of our favourites, along with their location, to help you make your choice.

Day Three

Peggys Cove

Today's breakfast will be at the Souwester Restaurant in Peggy's Cove. There will be an early departure from your hotel by 7 am for the one-hour drive to Peggy's Cove for a hearty breakfast at 8. The Souwester is known for its fishcakes – a local delicacy you might want to try. After our Peggy's Cove visit, we'll tour the coastline of Saint Margaret's Bay before stopping at Acadian Maple to learn about this important agricultural industry in Nova Scotia.

We'll have a brief tour through the resort community of Chester before heading overland through the heart of Christmas tree farm country to Grand Pre, the site of the deportation of the Acadians in 1755. You will visit this UNESCO World Heritage site and learn the tragic tale of families disrupted and scattered to the four winds. In front of the small reconstructed church, the statue of Evangeline morphs from a young woman to an elderly lady as you walk around her.

The Annapolis Valley is also vineyard country – home of many award-winning wineries. We'll visit a winery or two plus Howard Dill's farm, famous for its giant pumpkins. On your return to the hotel in Halifax the balance of the day is at your leisure and dinner is on your own.

Day Four

Mi'kmaq HertiageFollowing breakfast, we'll depart Halifax for our journey to Cape Breton Island. Our first stop will outside of Truro at the Glooscap Heritage Centre near Truro. This is a unique opportunity to learn about Mi'kmaq heritage - the story and importance of Glooscap, which is interwoven with the Bay of Fundy and its tides. We'll join the nearby Trans Canada Highway, heading through Pictou County, and experiencing a brief (restroom) break in Antigonish. (Antigonish is a Mi'kmaq word meaning 'the places where branches are torn off trees by bears gathering beechnuts'.) The town is home to St. Francis Xavier University (StFX) and the Antigonish Highland Games each summer.

Today's lunch stop will be at the Cove Motel, adjoining the Canso Causeway. The causeway is a 1,385 m/4,544 ft rock-filled roadway crossing the Strait of Canso, with two vehicle lanes of traffic (the Trans Canada Highway) and a single railway track. It is the deepest causeway in the world, with a depth of 213 feet. The word 'Canso' is believed to be derived from the Mi'kmaq word kamsok, which means 'opposite the lofty cliffs'.

On the other side of the Causeway, we will follow the Ceilidh Trail, a winding roadway along the shoreline of the Gulf of St Lawrence. It is one of the golden treasures of touring in Nova Scotia. Ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) is a Gaelic word meaning party or gathering and the area is renowned for its Celtic music and entertainers. The roadway clings to a rugged shoreline along the thickly-wooded, mountainous, and rough terrain of central Cape Breton Island. The scenery here is spectacular and we'll be passing places with names like Port Hood, Mabou, Glenville, Dunvegan, St. Rose, Chimney Corner, and Margaree Harbour. The coastline is very scenic, with rolling countryside and stunning seascapes found around every turn.

Cape BretonJust north of Mabou is the town of Glenville where you'll find a true gem of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, namely, the Glen Breton Distillery, renowned for its Cape Breton Rare Single Malt Whisky, which is the only single malt produced in Canada. It is produced using the traditional copper pot stills method and only three ingredients: barley, yeast, and water. It cannot be called 'Scotch' as it is not produced in Scotland, hence the name, Canadian Single Malt Whisky. Glen Breton offers a guided tour of its operation, a fine restaurant, walking trails, and even provides overnight accommodations. We will join the Cabot Trail at Margaree Harbour, and turning inland will head to Baddeck, situated on the shores of the storied Bras d'Or Lakes for a total of two nights.

Day Five

Cape Breton in the fallToday, after breakfast, we'll spend most of the day traveling the world-famous Cabot Trail. The Cabot Trail, one of the best road trips in the world, winds through stunning landscapes, along the Margaree River, a Canadian Heritage Salmon River, and through spectacular rugged highlands of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park of Canada. The trail was named after Italian explorer John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto) who reached our shores in 1497, sailing on a mission for King Henry VII of England. The name also celebrates the meeting of Cabot and the Mi'kmaq people, the original inhabitants of Cape Breton Island, at Aspy Bay over 500 years ago. The Trail was completed in 1932, joining previously isolated fishing villages along an approximate 300 km loop. Today the Cabot Trail connects eight major communities with intriguing histories, ranging from Acadian, to Irish and Scottish settlements.

The tour takes a break in Pleasant Bay for a cruise to seek the whales that frolic off its shores.

One of the highlights of a visit to Cape Breton is the Alexander Graham Bell Museum, which is part of our journey. It tells the story of Alexander Graham Bell's wide ranging interests and inventive work. The site's 10 hectares overlook Baddeck Bay, and Beinn Bhreagh, Bell's summer home, where he pursued much of his scientific work. The museum commemorates and interprets the work of Alexander Graham Bell and his associates and is a centre for the study of Bell's scientific and humanitarian work as illustrated by the artifacts and documents preserved there.

Day Six

Hector HeritageAfter breakfast, we'll tour along the Trans Canada Highway, returning to the Canso Strait area, and driving to Pictou - the Highland heart of Nova Scotia. (Nova Scotia is Latin for New Scotland.) Pictou is known as the "Birthplace of New Scotland" because the first major wave of Scottish immigrants landed in 1773. You can explore the Hector Heritage Quay and board the full-sized replica of the Ship Hector, which bore these 189 settlers from the Old Country. There are a number of excellent places to grab a snack in the area around Hector Quay. It is a short drive from Pictou to the Northumberland Ferry dock in Caribou for our 75-minute crossing of the Northumberland Strait to Prince Edward Island. We'll tour past numerous prosperous farms - potato, wild blueberry, dairy/beef, and more. Our first Island stop will be the charming town of Montague, an important community of eastern P E I - fishing/farming/tourism/yachting - before continuing on to our resort motel outside the capital city of P E I, Charlottetown. Tonight we'll enjoy a traditional P E I lobster dinner with all the fixings.

Day Seven

Anne of Green GabelsWe'll start today with drive into the city of Charlottetown and following an orientation of this Queen City, you will have a couple of hours of personal exploring time. Then we will head to the Cavendish area - famous for Anne of Green Gables, beaches, aquaculture, farming, and more. We'll be visiting a number of sites, including many photo-op stops, and more before returning to our resort motel. Dinner tonight will be on your own but we'll drive into the city so you will have more dining choices found in the charming downtown. Some may opt to attend the long-running musical 'Anne of Green Gables' at the Confederation Centre or one of the other performances held at the MacKenzie Theatre during the annual Charlottetown Festival. We will make two in/out runs to Charlottetown at day's end. The first leaves at 5 pm with a 7:30 pm return pick up time for those who want to eat at one of the many downtown eateries. The second run will leave at 6:15 pm (in time for both Mackenzie Theatre and Confederation Centre main stage performances) with a return pick up at 10:25 pm Those who choose to remain at the hotel can eat dinner on their own at the Lobster Claw Restaurant next to motel or at the Dunes Restaurant, a short distance from the motel - near Brackley Beach. (Reservations are required at the Dunes.)

Day Eight

Confederation Bridge to PEIToday, we'll travel through the rolling hills of the Island's South Shore to Gateway Village (a small collection of boutiques) and the Confederation Bridge. This stunning bridge is the longest bridge in the world over ice-covered waters and since 1997 has joined Canada to Prince Edward Island.

On the New Brunswick side of the bridge, we'll visit the Acadian village of Shediac with its giant 65 ton lobster before travelling to Moncton's Magnetic Hill. We'll the drive along the chocolate coloured Petitcodiac River to the Hopewell rocks, where, depending on time and tide, you can walk on the ocean floor among these nature-carved flowerpot formations, before returning via central Nova Scotia, to your Halifax hotel.

Day Nine

Today, following breakfast, you'll say your goodbyes to your travelling companions before leaving the province via Stanfield International Airport.

This excursion includes

  • Nine days including arrival and departure days
  • Fully escorted excursion with both a driver and a tour guide - fully equipped luxury mini-bus (includes washroom)
  • Personal leisure time
  • This tour requires a minimum of sixteen persons
  • Eight room nights (double occupancy)
  • Porterage at all hotels/motels
  • Breakfast daily, three dinners including a traditional P E I Lobster Dinner
  • Whale Watching Cruise
  • Five entry fees to paid sites including bridge, ferry, and road tolls as required

Bob, I want to thank you for the great tour you gave us to Peggy's Cove. It was a great day, and we were so pleased with the services you provided. I have already had an opportunity to recommend you to someone else and will continue to do so.

Kathy P

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